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tv   Crossfire  CNN  February 28, 2014 3:30pm-4:01pm PST

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welcome back. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. "crossfire" won't be seen tonight so we can bring you breaking news coverage on the crisis in ukraine, growing concerns of a russian invasion. stories escalating by the moment. we just heard a little while ago from jim acosta, our senior white house correspondent, the united states is now actively considering the possibility of not attending the g-8 summit in sochi, russia, in june unless the russians withdraw their troops from ukraine. don't get involved militarily. the immediate and former u.s. ambassador to russia, michael mcfaul is joining us once again.
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he's back in stanford university, only back a couple days, ambassador and the situation is escalating by the moment. i want you to listen to what senator john mccain told us here in "the situation room" just a little while ago about president obama. >> it's been clear that maybe the president of the united states has been a bit naive about vladimir putin and his ambitions. >> you served the president of the united states, you were named as his ambassador in moscow, you're a scholar when it comes to russia and the former soviet union. is the president a bit naive when it comes to putin? >> no. and i worked with the president for five years, wolf. i worked with at the white house for three years before going to moscow. i think the president has a very clear understanding of president putin and his motivations. and this is really not the time to talk about who's weak and who's not. i think we need to talk about how to resolve this crisis.
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and i want to be clear, it's not too late to resolve this crisis. you'll recall back in 2004 during the orange revolution regions in the east in crimea itself also made noises about sovereignty. eventually there was a political resolution that led to free and fair elections and a new constitution. i would hope that that moment has not yet passed and we can work with our european allies, ultimately with russia as well to try to de-escalate the situation right now and work towards a peaceful democratic solution to this crisis. >> we're seeing troops clearly on the ground in crimea right now, which is part of ukraine. we're seeing military helicopters flying over the area. the whole telecommunications system has been disrupted. there are mass troops surrounding government buildings in crimea. this certainly has the feeling, ambassador, of an invasion.
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is it? >> i agree with you. i think the situation 's very dire. nobody knows who these troops are. we want these troops to go back to where they came from before any loss of life. i would just remind people that so far we haven't had loss of life, so they should just go back to where they came from and sit down and negotiate terms where crimea can have its voice in a free and fair election that are planned for may. >> would you believe these are actual russian troops that are just not dressed in uniform? >> i would believe it. it hasn't been confirmed. and as i said earlier, all it would take is 30 seconds for the press spokesman from the kremlin to get on television, to get on your show, wolf, and say these are not russian troops, they're not under our direction. the fact that they haven't done that yet makes me nervous. >> so we're being seen in moscow right now, we're being seen in russia. talk to the people of russia
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right now. let's say you were still the ambassador and a few days ago you were the ambassador in russia. if you had a meeting with a top russian official, what would you say to that person? >> well, i'd say the same thing i said to many top level official just last week in moscow, which is it is not in russia's interests to have a civil war, an economic meltdown in ukraine. it is most certainly not in euro europe's interests, in american interests and in the interests of the yur cranian people. we need to work together to de-escalate this conflict. that's still not impossible right now. and i would urge my russian colleagues to think about ways to do that before it's too late. >> but you know putin. do you think he's inclined to de-escalate this crisis right now? >> i'm not sure, to be honest. i do think there's a lot at
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stake here. i was just down in sochi for the olympics. i was there for the beginning and the end. it's clear to me from that experience that president putin cares a lot about what the world thinks about him. he invested a lot to showcase the new russia. would he want to just throw that all away with this activity in crimea, which after all, what would be accomplished by that, right? it would be a runt state, ambiguous sovereignty, lead to economic problems in ukraine. i want to stress that. russia has a lot of trade with ukraine. russian companies have a lot of business in ukraine. that would all be under threat as well if this crisis escalates. so i want to keep us focused on the possibility that we can somehow defuse this before we have to talk about responding to what would be a real catastrophe in terms the of the violation of ukraine sovereignty by russia. >> ambassador mcfaul, we're going to ask you to stay.
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we're watching the escalation of tensions in ukraine right now and automatically an increase in tensions between the united states and russia at the same time. our breaking news coverage will resume after this. it says here that a woman's sex drive increases at the age of 80. helps reduce the risk of heart disease. keep heart-healthy. live long. eat the 100% goodness of post shredded wheat. doctors recommend it. ...and let in the dog that woke the man who drove to the control room [ woman ] driverless mode engaged. find parking space. [ woman ] parking space found. [ male announcer ] ...that secured the data that directed the turbines that powered the farm that made the milk that went to the store that reminded the man to buy the milk that was poured by the girl who loved the cat. [ meows ] the internet of everything is changing everything. cisco. tomorrow starts here.
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welcome back. we're following breaking news this hour. president obama warning russia there will be costs -- his word -- costs for any military intervention in ukraine. cnn has learned u.s. officials now believe several hundred russian troops have indeed landed on ukrainian territory in the crimea region. russian helicopters have been spotted over ukraine. russian troops surrounding some airports. we're told the president would consider, would consider skipping the g-8 summit in russia in june, sochi, russia, that would be a very dramatic development if moscow has indeed
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gone ahead with an armed invasion of its neighboring country of ukraine. we've got josh rogan, gloria borger, jim sciutto. gloria, let me start with you. you hear an escalating amount of rhetoric like this coming from the president and his top aides, all of us have to be deeply worried about what's going on. >> we do. the president has said he might not -- it's not a direct threat, i'm not going to go, he says unless the troops are removed, he wouldn't go to the g-8 summit. you have to wonder how our allies are going to respond to that. will the british then say the same thing and on down the line, number one. number two, the thing that interests me is that both senator john mccain, you know, senator john mccain and wesley clark, who is on the other side of the political spectrum both said that they believe that putin is involved in a little bit of empire rebuilding here and that they don't believe the
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story that they're saying which is they have a right the be there because of a bilateral agreement. >> you tweeted a while ago, obama, quote, there will be costs for any military intervention in ukraine. then you said, for example? # empty threat. go ahead. >> you notice that president obama didn't say redline, right? because we've been to this place before where the president writes a check then fails to cash it. that has second and third degree consequence. one has to wonder as putin remembers that episode, does he buy obama's threat. we don't have a lot of options. threatening not to go to a summit in june is okay, but that's four months from now. this situation changes every day. we could have sanctions, but that's probably not going to bite much. we could go to the u.n., but that's really a dead end. we're not going to send troops to ukraine, what tools does the u.s. have in its arsenal? not many. you notice that president obama didn't mention any. >> senator mccain did, though. he talked about -- >> a bunch. hold on one moment because if
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you talk about the united nations security council let's not forget russia has a veto at the u.n. security council, so don't expect any anti-russian resolutions to be passed by the u.n. security council. let's take another quick break, resume our coverage right after this. your eyes really are unique. in fact, they depend on a unique set of nutrients. [ male announcer ] that's why there's ocuvite to help protect your eye health. as you age, your eyes can lose vital nutrients. ocuvite helps replenish key eye nutrients. ocuvite is a vitamin made just for your eyes from the eye care experts at bausch + lomb. ocuvite has a unique formula that's just not found in any leading multivitamin. your eyes are unique, so help protect your eye health with ocuvite.
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as government buildings in crimea right now. all of this escalating, forcing the president of the united states only within the past couple hours or so to go into the white house briefing room and issue a strong warning. jim sciutto's our chief national security correspondent. the president is clearly concerned right now and his aides are telling our white house correspondent jim acosta, that they may actually consider boycotting the g-8 summit in sochi, russia, in june. that's a huge deal. >> that's right. the president said there would be costs, he'd impose substantial costs and beginning to define what those costs are. they might not attend sochi. granted it's four months from now, but it's a marquee event for russia at the site of the olympics. if you can get some of your allies to join in, recently in the last hour, we had britain's ambassador to the u.n. also condemn the deployment of troops inside ukraine saying the united kingdom believes that any newly
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deployed troops that do not belong to the ukrainian government should withdraw. the g-8 becomes the g-1 or the g-2 and that's a big blow. the white house has also referenced the russians wanted to reach out for improved economic ties with the u.s. and this is something they would conceivably cancel, the administration would conceivably cancel as a result of this as well. >> hold on. this new video just getting in, video posted on youtube. russian helicopters flying over crimea right now. diana magnay is our correspondent on the ground in crimea. as we see this video, i've got to tell you, diana, it looks very ominous what's going on. >> it does. we've also been speaking to one local resident of the town who will be getting video soon of tanks in a residential neighborhood in his city, three
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tanks. so there are worrying signs. what i've seen of my own eye are these . to airports in this country. now, they are wearing military fatigues, wolf. they just don't have any kind of mark which shows you where they are from. so it's like there is an unidentifiable army on the loose who is surrounding these kinds of structures. now, when you talk to people here, a lot of them do feel as though the events that went on don't affect them. they very mistrustful of this new ukrainian government. it's 12 hours just to drive there. a secessionist impulse in the crimea area. yesterday gunmen stormed thee a administration and a new pro-russian administration is being put in and on the same day
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as national elections in this country, a right to decide in a referendum where they want to stay part of the ukraine or form their own independent state. and when you add that kind of political dimension all of a sudden to this armed invasion, well, you know, it almost looks as though the course is already set. >> yeah. these are russian helicopters flying over crimea. we're going to follow the breaking news. right now, this report on "i "impact your world." >> thought i'd try out my sea legs. >> reporter: long before vietnam lieutenant dan in forest gump, he was a passionate supporter of the military. >> i have a long history with the military starting with the l relations i have in my family. my mom and dad served and my
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introducing cardioviva: the first probiotic to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels without a prescription. cardioviva. take a look at these photographs. these are believed to be russian tanks in ukraine, in sevastopol which is in crimea right now. take a look at these tanks. you see a picture like this and we keep wondering, what are the russians going to say? you've been hearing what their arguments might be. >> right. the interaction at the top
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levels of the relationship is not good. the russians have been quietly explaining in washington why they think they have the ability and the right to do this. >> what is their main argument? >> they are protecting their base. the black sea fleet are sitting in crimea. the situation is unstable and they feel they have the right to add troops to pro equity tect ts that are already there. they have a law that tells them they are allowed to protect their troops when they are in danger and they are going to do it. if that means protecting the protestings from coming on to the base, they are going to do that to. their argument is that they were invited. my information is that the kremlin and yanukovych are working together to come up with a case that they will present to the public in the coming days which will say very simply that yanukovych is the president and therefore it's legitimate. it cannot be termed as a
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military intervention. this may lead to yanukovych going to crimea, he still believes he's the president of the entire country of the ukraine. you could have two different ukrainian presidents both claiming providence similar to the 1940s in china. >> if yanukovych were to go to kiev, he'd be arrested for war crimes, if you will. but if he went to crimea, you might be received there as the legitimate president of the ukraine? >> it's not that the crimeas like him. they hate him, actually. but they are willing to put up woman him to the lawmakers can establish a government and maybe have a referendum and once they are stable and have their autonomy pretty much secured, then they can talk to yanukovych. he's useful to them and they are useful to him. >> you just previewed the argument we may be hearing from
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russian officials, including putin. we're going to stay on top of this story. josh rogin, thanks for joining us. we're going to continue to stay on top of the breaking news in the ukraine. lots is at stake. thanks for watching. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. next breaking news, signs of a russian invasion in ukraine tonight. president obama warns russia there will be costs. plus, a new winter storm threatens more than 100 million across america and a story you have to see to believe, a man declared dead in a body bag comes back out alive. let's go "outfront." good evening, everyone. i'm erin burnett and we have a welcome to our viewers in the u.s. and around the world tonight. "outfront" we begin with the breaking news. the united states believes that russian troops have entered ukraine. ukrainian